Newsroom staffing diversity plays a significant role in ensuring that a newsroom’s coverage reflects the communities it serves.
That’s why the San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SD-SPJ) is beginning an important project: surveying local newsrooms about staff demographics.
With the support of other local journalism organizations, such as the San Diego Association of Black Journalists and the San Diego chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, SD-SPJ seeks to compile demographic data from local newsrooms, as well as information on what newsrooms are doing to increase diversity. SD-SPJ has sent requests to all San Diego print, digital, radio and television newsrooms for this information.
We’re conducting this survey to get a snapshot of San Diego’s newsroom demographics, which we hope will provide a benchmark for further research. While nationwide surveys have found that newsrooms are more diverse than in the past, there’s still work to do. For example, a 2019 survey by the Radio Television Digital News Association found that “the percentage of women and people of color in TV newsrooms reached record highs,” but a 2018 Pew Research Center study found that newsroom employees are “less diverse” than U.S. workers overall.
We understand this is a difficult time for many journalism organizations. Still, we feel this survey is timely and can be a valuable resource for newsrooms as the economy improves and hiring returns to normal.
Our plan is to publicly release the data, including a list of all participating newsrooms and a list of all newsrooms we’ve contacted. We will, ideally, hold a virtual event to discuss the findings.
We’ve also asked newsrooms that are unwilling or unable to complete our survey to please let us know why.
You can see the questions we have asked newsrooms to answer by clicking here.